Exhibit

John L. Gray, Dr. J, Arenas-Chico and Joe Williams and members of the Police Athletic League program on Feb. 3 at the opening reception. (The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center/Courtesy / February 14, 2014)

Take a look back at the world of baseball — and the Negro Baseball Leagues — as part of a Black History Month exhibit at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale.

The exhibit, open during regular library hours through Feb. 28, has more than 200 pieces of memorabilia including photographs and books on Jackie Robinson as well as a replica of his jersey and a Brooklyn Dodgers hat. Visitors can also learn about other Negro Leagues players such as Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Larry Doby and Leroy "Satchel" Paige.

"I think it's important to let the community know, especially the younger people, that there was a time when African-Americans and white people were not able to play on the same teams together," said library specialist Larry Holland, of the professional U.S. league for black baseball players that existed from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s.

The library also has been inviting former players as guest speakers. John Gray and Jimmy Hill, who played for the Indianapolis Clowns, will be on hand for a lecture at 6 p.m. Feb. 24.


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The idea for the exhibit came from Joe Williams, the library's volunteer coordinator, and some of the items are from his personal collection as well as Holland's, among others.

"As I was walking through the library, I saw nothing. As a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, there was nothing to honor Jackie Robinson," said Williams, a former baseball coach at Boyd H. Anderson High School in Lauderdale Lakes.

He hopes more people will pay tribute to the Negro Baseball Leagues and its players. "One day, I hope to have a permanent exhibit," he said.

If you go

What: A free tribute to the Negro Baseball Leagues

Where: African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, 2650 Sistrunk Blvd., Fort Lauderdale.

When: Noon-8 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays-Sundays

Info: Larry Holland, 954-357-5950.